Monday, April 25, 2011

Easter Activities

Friday began our Easter activities. We had our annual egg dyeing celebration. I always wish we had more eggs to color but one family can only have so many hard boiled eggs. The kids always have fun participating and I'm impressed with how creative they try to be. Even Tyler who is so hard to get to sit still through a whole craft project is often the last one done when it comes to coloring eggs.

Friday night the Easter bunny came to pay us a visit. (By the way - if anyone can tell me the significance of a bunny bringing eggs at Easter I'd really appreciate it. None of my kids nor myself get it. Santa I get, but not the Easter bunny.) Anywho - a friend of mine (Thanks, Maren!) introduced me to the Saturday morning Easter bunny. It leaves Sunday free for what and Who we are truly celebrating. (See this post for my feelings about Easter.) The kids were just fine with it. Karena actually had a whole conversation with a neighbor friend about it that afternoon.

We started with the Easter baskets. The kids had taken it upon themselves to write the Easter bunny letters. Tyler asked for a blue egg with a train in it. The Easter bunny was quite fortunate to stumble upon that very thing when it was hopping through Target the very next day!

Hannah was quite impressed with her new package of underpants. She proudly announced Sunday morning at lunch that she was so excited to be wearing her new flip flop underpants. "They feel great!" I quickly asked her to try and not mention underpants at church that day.

After breakfast we had our egg hunt. John swears he say a huge bunny hopping off into the forest. "Wink. Wink." Tyler kept asking him if he REALLY saw a bunny, what he looked liked, what color he was, and even what he sounded like. I think he's had one too many people try and hoodwink him.

Tyler and Hannah were like speeding trains through the whole hunt. (I've finally realized why almost all of my pictures of Tyler are blurry. He won't be still. It's like trying to take a picture of a hummingbird.)

Hannah managed to collect every egg sitting in last years garden.

Karena was methodical and a lot slower than the others but she managed to find all the tricky ones. The other two were going so fast they missed a lot.

When Karena found one she certainly kicked it into high gear.

Sunday was a nice day! We had some friends over for dinner and got to enjoy some yummy food! Unfortunately the only thing I took a picture of Sunday was the dessert! But it is a delicious picture.

That's a homemade turtle cheescake. Oreo & pecan crust, a layer of homemade caramel, cheesecake, and pecans with caramel and chocolate drizzles on top. My friend convinced me to take a picture. It tasted as good as it looks!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

My Reflections of the Savior

I had to speak in church today. The topic the Bishop assigned me was "My Personal Reflections of the Savior." It was an emotional week for me as I prepared this talk. I was struggling with some other things as well as having to prepare this. But it did give me a lot of time to reflect on the Savior which I am grateful for especially during this Easter season. So for anyone interested this was my talk:

Bishop asked me to speak of my personal reflections of the Savior. To be quite honest this has not been an easy topic for me. Speaking about my feelings is not a skill I’ve learned well over the years. So this week has been quite the struggle for me to put into words my thoughts of the Savior and how He has affected my life.

I’ve also never before worried about not having mighty spiritual moments. But I did this week. I worried about giving a talk when I don’t have anything impressive to share? My concerns were eased after listening to Elder Ballard’s conference talk again. If you remember he spoke of a gold miner that was frustrated with the lack of gold nuggets he was finding. A wise old prospector taught him and me an important lesson. Walking over to the pile of rocks, the old prospector said, ‘Oh, there is gold all right. You just have to know where to find it.’ He picked two rocks up in his hands and crashed them together. One of the rocks split open, revealing several flecks of gold sparkling in the sunlight.

“Noticing a bulging leather pouch fastened to the prospector’s waist, the young man said, ‘I’m looking for nuggets like the ones in your pouch, not just tiny flecks.’

“The old prospector extended his pouch toward the young man, who looked inside, expecting to see several large nuggets. He was stunned to see that the pouch was filled with thousands of flecks of gold.

“The old prospector said, ‘Son, it seems to me you are so busy looking for large nuggets that you’re missing filling your pouch with these precious flecks of gold. The patient accumulation of these little flecks has brought me great wealth.’”

So my goal today is to share with you three of the little flecks of gold that have brought me great spiritual wealth and brought me closer to my Savior.

Fleck #1: His example of service: Christ was always serving those around him. We have many of the great and miraculous ways he served recorded in the scriptures. He healed the sick. He blessed the children. He fed the 5000. Sometimes we focus on these miraculous ways and miss the small seemingly insignificant acts he also performed. Many times after he performed a mighty miracle he stopped and spent some time with that person – teaching them, comforting them and bringing them peace.

I know I can’t accomplish the miracles that Christ did but I can follow His example as I reach out to comfort a troubled heart or bring peace to a worried mind. I most likely won’t have an experience like in 3 Nephi where I see heavenly angels and fire coming from heaven to encircle my children. But I know there are earthly angels that encircle them here every Sunday in Primary and teach them that their Savior loves them and cares for them. I may not be able to take some loaves and fishes and feed the 5000 but by paying my tithing and fast offering to the Lord, He will take my few pennies and dollars and do miracles in the lives of those that need it.

Fleck #2: When I was in college I purchased a little statue carved from olive wood. I was so captivated by this simple piece. The man I bought the statue from told me its inspiration came from a scripture. The statue is an upright hand with a little boy resting in it. The hand and the boy are not carved to look like two pieces but instead it has been carved to look as if the boy is part of the hand. I went home and found that scripture. It has since become my favorite. The reference the merchant was referring to is found in Isaiah 49. But I prefer the similar one found in the Book of Mormon - 1 Nephi 21: 13-16.

“Sing, O heavens; and be joyful, O earth; for the feet of those who are in the east shall be established; and break forth into singing, O mountains; for they shall be smitten no more; for the Lord hath comforted his people, and will have mercy upon his afflicted.

But, behold, Zion hath said: The Lord hath forsaken me, and my Lord hath forgotten me – but he will show that he hath not.

For can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? Yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee, O house of Israel.

Behold I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me.”

When times get difficult I know on many occasions I have been as faithless as Zion and asked the Savior if He had forgotten me. I have been assured each time that he cannot and will not forget me. He has “graven [me] upon the palms of [His] hands.” His atonement, death and resurrection weren’t done for all of us as a collective whole. They were done just for me. They were done just for you. Not only did he do those amazing, miraculous works just for us he is continually helping each of us.

Elder Richards said in his talk, “The Atonement Covers All Pain”, “The Savior is not a silent observer. . . . Perhaps His most significant work is in the ongoing labor with each of us individually to lift, to bless, to strengthen, to sustain, to guide, and to forgive us.”

How does he know how to help us? How does he know exactly how to help us? I came to understand just a small bit of this as I was reading Alma 7:12.

“And he will take upon him death, that he my loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities.

I have always concentrated on what the atonement can do for me. Until this verse I had never considered how the atonement affected Christ. This verse taught me that the Savior chose to experience all our infirmities so he could know the perfect way to help me.

President Henry B. Eyring taught: “It will comfort us when we must wait in distress for the Savior’s promised relief that He knows, from experience, how to heal and help us. … And faith in that power will give us patience as we pray and work and wait for help. He could have known how to succor us simply by revelation, but He chose to learn by His own personal experience. When experiencing anything difficult many of us gravitate to those who understand and have experienced what we are going through. What better person to turn to than the Savior, the one who truly knows, the only one who can perfectly understand what we are going through.

Where can I turn for peace?
Where is my solace
When other sources cease to make me whole?
When, with a wounded heart, anger, or malice
I draw myself apart searching my soul?

Where, when my aching grows?
Where, when I languish?
Where, in my need to know?
Where can I run?
Where is the quiet hand to calm my anguish?
Who, who can understand?
He, only One.

He answers privately.
Reaches my reaching.
In my Gethsemane, Savior, and friend.
Gentle, the peace He finds
For my beseeching.
Constant He is, and kind.
Love without end.

As we truly realize that it was “my Gethsemane” we can sing and be joyful “for the feet of those who are in the east shall be established; . . . for they shall be smitten no more; for the Lord hath comforted his people, and will have mercy upon his afflicted.”

Fleck #3: Let me tell you about my grandmother. She was an extraordinary person. First let me describe her. She was very petite – 4’11” to be exact. She had this perfect head of white hair. Her clothing was always very nice. I remember she even wore her nice blouses and slacks camping with us. And she did actually go camping with us – tent and all. She was a convert to the church. I will always be grateful that she and her children joined the church. Through many of her life experiences I have learned perseverance in the face of trials. I have learned from her to have a good attitude and to have fun with life. I look forward to following her example and serving a mission with my husband.

During my freshman year of college she got sick. Her funeral was the first I remember attending. I remember walking into the viewing and seeing her lying there. My only thought was it wasn’t her. She still had the beautiful clothing on. Her hair was still perfectly styled. But something was missing. Her spirit was gone and her body remained. It was the first time I was truly grateful for the resurrection. I will one day get to see her again. I will get to see her extraordinary spirit reunited with her petite body.

President Monson said in a talk in last April’s General Conference: “No words in Christendom mean more to me than those spoken by the angel to the weeping Mary Magdalene and the other Mary when, on the first day of the week, they approached the tomb to care for the body of their Lord. Spoke the angel:

“Why seek ye the living among the dead?

“He is not here, but is risen.” 12

Our Savior lived again. The most glorious, comforting, and reassuring of all events of human history had taken place—the victory over death. The pain and agony of Gethsemane and Calvary had been wiped away. The salvation of mankind had been secured. The Fall of Adam had been reclaimed.

The empty tomb that first Easter morning was the answer to Job’s question, “If a man die, shall he live again?” To all within the sound of my voice, I declare, If a man die, he shall live again. We know, for we have the light of revealed truth.

“For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.

“For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.” 13

He is risen! He is risen!

Tell it out with joyful voice.

He has burst his three days’ prison;

Let the whole wide earth rejoice.

Death is conquered; man is free.

Christ has won the victory!

Jesus Christ stood up in the Premortal Council and volunteered to come to Earth and become our - become my Savior. I know he didn’t volunteer in ignorance. He understood his role in the plan. Jesus was the cornerstone of the plan. Without him there would have been no resurrection. Without him there would have been no repentance. Without him there would have been no salvation.

Saturday, April 09, 2011


Ism #1: (This is NOT an announcement, by the way.)

Tyler: Mommy, I think you should have another baby. I want a brother or sister.

Me: Well, Tyler, why don't you pray and ask Heavenly Father about that?

Tyler: No, Mommy! That's your job!

Ism #2: Walking through Sam's

Tyler: Mommy, you need to get some new pants.

Me: Why? (Suddenly realizing what he means.) Oh because they're too short?

Tyler: Yeah!!

Me: They're called capris. They're supposed to be short.

(He's been growing so fast that he's been hearing his pants are too short a lot lately.)

Ism #3: Sitting at lunch - A very profound one!

Karena: Mommy, I feel like I don't have anything special.

Me: Like what?

Karena: Well, I don't know. Just something special.

Tyler: The thing about things you get that are special is that the first day they are special. The next day they are about half special and the day after that they aren't very special.

Monday, April 04, 2011

Bring On the Luck!


Since September the kids have been participating in a morning taekwondo class a couple days a week. The owner of the studio was extremely generous to offer it to the homeschool community for free this year. It took the kids a while to warm up to it and really get into it. Last month they finally were prepared enough for their yellow belts. Tyler was the most prepared but ended up being the most nervous. They all did extremely well. (When I figure out how to make movies from the videos from my ipod I'll post them.) Since then Tyler has been practicing all the time. He's really getting quite good and almost has his 2nd pattern memorized for his next test.

Here are my new yellow belts:



(The wind was pretty strong and no one wanted to stay out anymore for a retake.)